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    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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There’s Got To Be a Morning After

Dear Lost Souls: are you out there, did you wake up, is it dry, are you alright? I’m writing from an internet cafe and feeling the first sun on my face in a while. We still don’t have power, NYC is a mess, but our home was not struck by a two hundred year old tree. Some food is starting to rot. At night, we read by candlelight, very LIttle Women. Then a flashlight guides the way upstairs, and for a moment I am in a movie I’d prefer not to be in. In my dreams last night, Matt Damon was seated next to me on a plane and confided in me that he had kissed a man. Then he asked me what I thought was my best quality. I said, I’m kind. Just now, the sky looks like an El Greco painting. I am on my third Americano. And I’m wondering about all of you love bugs.

How are you?

53 Responses

  1. My dreams have all been set in NYC, even though I’ve lived on the other coast for 23 years.

    So glad you’re okay, Betsy.

    Best of everything to you and your fellow NYers.

  2. I’m relieved you and yours are okay, Betsy.

    Does anyone know anything about MSB?

  3. Thank you for checking in. I’m across the ocean but thinking of you all. I had a MD dream, too, shortly after the birth of my second daughter. That and the dream about the overweight seal chasing me led my OB-GYN to believe the dreams were my “take” on the baby blues – all those nutty hormones.

  4. I’m on the other side of the world and wondering how all you guys are. I have to say, I’m also a little disappointed with Matt Damon. Take care and be safe.

  5. Very glad to hear that you are intact Betsy. Hang in there. I survived Hurricane Juan, 8 days without power, military in the streets, the whole ball of wax. It was no fun at all. I hope NYC will be up and running soon. Take care and take meds.

  6. Glad you’re okay. Happily ensconced in my office on the west coast.

  7. We were wondering about you yesterday. Tetman said you’d be fine, eating bon-bons and writing stormy poems by candlelight. I’m tickled now that we have the Little Women image to go with it.

    Take care, all of you.

  8. good to read your words, betsy.

    that storm surge was a real bastard. having lived through a flash flood i think i know about the unrelenting odours of the aftermath of a natural (water) disaster. challenging.

    it’s snowing here and i’m practising my piece for my reading and, you know, it sounds like shit.

  9. Here I was, not expecting anything, but still obsessively checking for the ‘nth” time today and voila! A post! Like the phoenix from the ashes, you rose, went out, found a pocket of civilization and have seen the sun. For that, today is already a better day than yesterday.

    All good in NC. Had a taste of Sandy – but we were only an appetizer, not part of a main course like NY, NJ and CT.

    I hope some sense of normalcy will find it’s way to you all soon, (and most importantly, a utility truck)

  10. I’m thinking of a book called KILLING BILL O’REILLY yet to be written.

  11. Wonderful to hear you’re okay Betsy! I’ve seen pictures of my hometown where all the boats that provided my boat-clink lullaby are tossed about the street. Oddly some of the plastic shrinkwrap they are in is unscathed. I wonder if you added all the displaced agents’ coffee drinks how much that would be. Take care!

  12. Reading Little Women, ironically enough – it’s one of my go-to books where I can open it at random and read a few pages, getting my weekly dose of unselfish goodness and light 🙂

    I’m also a little relieved that the weather’s crappy enough not to do Halloween this year – it was my ex-husband’s favorite holiday, so it makes me sad.

  13. Relieved to know you are okay.

  14. Glad to hear from you Betsy. Hope you have power soon and that the tree guys are eye candy.

  15. Glad to see you here, Betsy, you and your crew — I’ve been worried about you east coasters. Hugs all around.

    Right now I’m reading the Little House series before I go to sleep. Last night, On The Banks of Plum Creek. They survive some crazy floods and storms, that Ingalls family….

    • Those were some of my fave books growing up. I read them all, and still remember tidbits from them even though it’s been years since I turned those pages. Like how excited she was that she got a penny, an orange (?) or maybe it was an apple, a small sugar cake, and her own tin mug with her name on it for Christmas. The simplicity of their lives is enviable.

      • I don’t know. Last night Laura almost got swept away in a flood, and right before that an ox got loose and ran over their one-room-for-6-people dugout and fell partially through, almost killing Ma and Carrie.

        Tonight, who knows! (it’s been so long since I’ve read these I have no idea what’s coming)

  16. My daughter in Manhattan is safe and dry, you are safe and dry, and all those other poor souls who are neither, thinking of you all from across the miles. It must be all this craziness that makes us think about the old books–I pulled Alice Through the Looking Glass off the shelf yesterday, looking for one of those slithy toves.

  17. Me? I relive H. Katrina with these storms and their aftermath. The numbness, the funky smells, the realization that I sit on one side of the smeary window pane while a whole other group of people are busily enjoying electricity, mail deliveries, streets not filled with boats and fresh food on the other side – those recollections now distract me. I’m sorry you are now a member of the Named Storm Club. Stay safe, hone the skill of patience: it will be your greatest talent in the coming days.

    PS – Vivian? news from Long Island?

    • I imagine it’s a bit like losing a parent. You have no idea what it’s like until it happens to you. Then every time someone else’s mother or father passes, you feel it all over again.

      I saw a group of people eating through the window of a fancy restaurant today. I wanted to yell at them that my neighbor, a single mother of two, was worried sick she wouldn’t be able to find a carton of milk to feed her babies and how dare they enjoy such an expensive meal but I knew in my heart of hearts those kind of inequities happen every second of every day. And that I’m guilty of them, too.

      My challenge right now is being light. My shoulders feel so incredibly heavy. I wish I had a crane to hold them up.

      • So happy to see you here MSB!

      • I’m so sorry you and so many others are coping with such uncertainty and loss.

        I don’t know if this helps, but knowing that you and your family are unhurt is such an incredible relief. If there’s anything we can do to lift you up, name it.

      • It means the world to know someone is thinking of you and hoping you’re safe. Words. They’ve never meant so much.

        We’re headed back home tomorrow morning. There is still no power but lights are being reported on in parts of our community. Keep your fingers crossed and if you know the gas fairy, please point out our beat up mini-van. We could use all the help we can get in that department. I think we have just enough to get us to our door.

        I hope Vivian checks in soon.

  18. we are fine. and you are kind. you are one of the kindest, most generous souls i have ever encountered who roams the concrete canyons of The Little Isle at the Center of the World.

  19. Last spring, a part of a tree took out my deck and half my garage, also squashing most of a car. I found that sort of exciting since no one was hurt and we have insurance. You feel so “in touch” with Mother Nature I guess. But being out of power for days and days sucks. Almost everyone on our block has a generator now. We don’t. They are very loud and smelly. We are fine. Thanks for asking. One last brave little morning glory bloomed for us today.

  20. Oh Betsy, how we worried about you and that you ask about us, you are indeed a sweet lady.

    Back to work today. Of the twenty or so who showed up I am the only one with power. Here I am in CT and some Missouri Line-Men turned us on or as they said, made us hot.
    Very sad stories I’ve heard and images I simply cannot believe. Our little town has been hit hard but when I see the pictures of NYC and my beloved New Jersey, I am a Jersey girl, you know,…the images of my ‘funnest’ summer vacation place as a kid, Seaside Heights, breaks my heart.

    I cannot get out of my mind standing on my back deck in the pitch black as the monster-wind roared through the woods like it was thrashing for it’s next victim. It sounded alive and very angry, hungry and mean. While we listened to the growling, the clouds above us parted and the full moon bathed our yard and the woods in light, brighter than I’ve ever seen at night without snow on the ground. We stared at the stars with amazement. A few minutes later the clouds raced back to cover the hole in the storm. It was like getting a gulp of air when someone holds you under. I felt blessed to be with my family and that we were all okay.

    I pray that everyone remains safe and warm.

  21. Warm, dry, and working. Like Sarah W., I am worried about MSB. I’m also glad you are all here.

  22. Weird when I read your words. It’s like another galaxy. People on the East Coast under some kind of Frankenstorm….here it’s Halloween in Sunny California…our external worlds vastly different, but perhaps our internal worlds have the same storm brewing….like the wind, they just change shape, drift in and out, but never leave..part of us, I guess..

  23. Doing fine – the most we got was a ton of rain! So glad to hear from you Betsy and know that everything is okay!

    Starting my own personal NaNoWriMo tomorrow. I didn’t sign up officially because I don’t like the idea of sending all of my hard work to them at the end. Also, I changed the rules specifically for me! Lol, I just wanted some sort of deadline to motivate me.

  24. Hey Betsy, checking email from NYU…remember when? Glad you’re OK, love your dream.

  25. Love the dream too. Glad to hear you’re okay. Is the Bellevue evacuation a screenplay? Maybe with Matt and Ben as ambulance drivers in a cat fight a la Seinfeld.

  26. Hugs to Betsy and Matt Dillon. Very glad you and family are safe. Those falling trees! Just terrifying. I wrote to MSB but no reply yet.

  27. Good to see that you are safe.

  28. Lots of preparation here in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s the first time I ever bothered to prepare for a storm; I bagged water and bought a flashlight so I could read. And then nothing much happened. I’m counting my blessings and worrying about all my favorite bloggers who live up north.

  29. Sounds like it got pretty cold overnight … the idea of people shivering, and counting the hours till the sun comes up is heart wrenching …I hope you stayed warm under piles and piles of blankets…and that this morning you will have access to hot food/coffee/latte – whatever you want…

    I’ve been through a lot of hurricanes and it’s the wearisome waiting for something to happen, listening for the sound that signals progress being made, chainsaws buzzing, the rumbling of utility trucks winding their way through the neighborhood, water gushing from sump pumps… The day to day slog of trying to cope in ways we aren’t used to is what will test the nerves of even the most stalwart people. It will get better…in the meantime, a virtual hug to you is in this message.

  30. My lover’s gentle touch during a dark night with the wind howling and trees swaying like sea plants on the ocean floor. Schools closed and bringing my daughter to work, having the perfect, quiet deli lunch together. Playing “Like A Hurricane” on the guitar two or three times per sitting, the Am to G, F to quick Em, G and back to Am chord progression sounding every bit like pouring rain and heavy winds. The Adirondacks weren’t hit too hard, but I’m just wondering how many storms it will take and how fast the waters will rise before my land becomes ocean front property.

    Doing well. A few blocks of downtown closed for trick or treating yesterday afternoon, ghouls, zombies, princesses and little spidermen all along the boulevard. A lawyer with a chicken wing for an arm coming up short while trying to toss Reese’s cups from his porch out to the assembled throng. A 340 pound pumpkin grown in horse shit and carved into a jack-o-latern by a lumberjack named Forrest. The waning moon above and below the clouds displaying just a few layers of the sky.

    Bracing myself for a storm far worse than this one that could come next week, the devil impersonating a Mormon dressed in a three piece suit.

    Stay dry, stay warm. Eat chocolate.

  31. It was a dark and stormy night in the city. The fire escape outside my window almost got yanked from its bolts. Trees fell on cars but this New England city emerged fairly unscathed.

    But so much devastation elsewhere. Glad you’re good, Betsy. Sending prayers, etc. to the others.

  32. MSB Update: She and her family are okay. They’ve left their house, which is fine but without power, and are staying elsewhere with family.

  33. I feel as if I’ve been lying awake late at night waiting to hear the sound of my kid’s car pulling in the driveway. Once the door slams and the outside light is turned off I know all is right with my world. Well…MSB checked in. The house is quiet; all the kids are home and safe.

    Hope all are safe and warm and have lights on, to turn off.

    • Wry – I think this post officially makes you the dorm mother of Betsy’s Salon. Thanks for caring.

      Right now, the Staten Island stories are breaking my heart. At least the press is all over it, (AC 360 last night) bringing awareness & hopefully help.
      Who can write amidst all this? Not me.

  34. I’m in San Diego, so Ann Romney and I weren’t affected a whit. WHERE’S VIVIAN?

  35. As the storm was arriving, I was going offline, out of reach and out of touch. I was worried for those in its path, but am only now finding out how bad it is.

    I am sad for so many, and wish you well.

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